What to Do When the Owner of the Company Sexually Harassed Me? Know Your Rights

owner of company sexually harassed me

In the vast landscape of employment law, cases involving sexual harassment by a company owner are unfortunately not uncommon. It’s a distressing experience that can affect every aspect of your life. If you are in such a situation in California, understanding your rights and taking the right steps is crucial. This article aims to guide you through the process of dealing with workplace sexual harassment perpetrated by the owner of the company and seeking justice under California state and federal laws.

Introduction: Understanding Your Rights

Sexual harassment is a violation of your rights, and you have the legal right to a workplace free from such behavior. California has robust laws in place to protect employees from workplace sexual harassment, and these laws apply to everyone, from entry-level positions to high-ranking executives.

Identifying Sexual Harassment: What Does It Encompass?

Before delving into the legal aspects, it’s essential to recognize what constitutes sexual harassment. It can manifest in various forms, including unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, offensive comments or jokes, sexual assault, sex discrimination, and even physical conduct of a sexual nature. If you have experienced any such behavior from the owner of your company, you may be a victim of sexual harassment.

How Does an Employee Report Sexual Harassment by a Business Owner?

Filing a sexual harassment lawsuit is a critical step in seeking justice. Understandably, taking such action can be intimidating, especially when the harasser is the company’s owner. However, you must remember that you have rights, and reporting the sexual harassment complaint is a way to assert and protect those rights.

  1. Document Everything: Before making a report, document every instance of harassment. This includes dates, times, locations, and details of the incidents. If there were any witnesses, try to get their contact information.

  2. Follow Company Procedures: Many companies have established procedures for reporting harassment. Check your employee handbook or similar documents to understand the process. Follow the specified steps if there is a designated person or department for reporting.

  3. File a Complaint with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD): If your company does not adequately address the issue, you can file a complaint with the CRD (formerly known as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or DFEH). They will investigate your case and may take legal action if necessary.

Understanding the Claims for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

When you decide to take legal action against the owner of the company for sexual harassment, you will likely be filing a civil lawsuit. Here are some key claims that your case may involve:

Hostile Work Environment:

This claim arises when the owner’s conduct creates an atmosphere at work that is uncomfortable, intimidating, or offensive. The behavior must be pervasive or severe enough to affect your work conditions adversely.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment:

In this type of harassment, the owner explicitly or implicitly demands sexual favors in exchange for job-related benefits, promotions, job security, or other favorable employment conditions. This involves a direct link between submitting to unwelcome advances and granting or denying employment-related opportunities.


If, after reporting the harassment, you experience adverse employment actions such as demotion, termination, or continued hostile work conditions, you may have a retaliation claim. This underscores the legal protection against negative repercussions for asserting your rights and seeking a resolution for company sexual harassment.

Federal and State Laws:

Your case may fall under both federal and state laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. California state laws, such as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), also provide additional protections.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):

Before filing a lawsuit, you must file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the CRD. The EEOC or CRD will investigate your case and may issue a right-to-sue letter, which gives you the green light to proceed with a lawsuit.

Seeking Damages:

In a sexual harassment claim, you may be entitled to various damages, including:

  • Compensatory Damages: These cover financial losses and emotional distress.

  • Punitive Damages: These are intended to punish the harasser and deter future misconduct.

  • Medical Expenses and Lost Wages: If you incurred medical expenses or lost wages due to the harassment, you may be eligible for compensation.

Hiring an experienced sexual harassment lawyer is crucial for navigating the complexities of your case. Look for a lawyer with expertise in employment law and a successful track record in handling sexual harassment cases.

Employer’s Responsibility: What Can Employers Do to Prevent Sexual Harassment?

Employers bear a responsibility to provide a safe and harassment-free workplace. Here are some measures employers can take to prevent sexual harassment:

  1. Clear Policies: Implement and communicate clear policies against sexual harassment. Make sure all employees are aware of these policies.

  2. Training Programs: Conduct regular training programs to educate employees about what constitutes sexual harassment and how to report it.

  3. Prompt Investigation: Employers should promptly and thoroughly investigate any sexual harassment complaints. Taking corrective action is crucial to prevent further harm.

  4. Non-Retaliation Policies: Implement policies that protect employees from retaliation for reporting harassment. Employees should feel safe coming forward with their complaints.

The importance of legal guidance, especially in sensitive and complex matters such as cases involving sexual harassment by the owner of a company, cannot be overstated. Legal guidance is a crucial resource for individuals navigating the intricate web of laws and regulations, ensuring their rights are protected, and justice is sought. Here are key reasons highlighting the importance of legal guidance in such situations:

  1. Understanding Your Rights: Legal professionals clarify the intricacies of rights in sexual harassment cases, providing a solid understanding of available protections.

  2. Navigating the Legal Landscape: Experts guide individuals through complex employment laws, ensuring proper steps align with state and federal regulations preventing potential pitfalls.

  3. Documentation and Evidence: Lawyers assist in meticulous incident documentation, emphasizing preserving crucial evidence for a compelling legal case.

  4. Adherence to Procedures: Legal professionals help individuals follow company procedures for reporting harassment, ensuring proper documentation, and addressing complaints effectively.

  5. Filing the Right Claims: Lawyers assist in identifying the most relevant legal claims for sexual harassment cases, enhancing the likelihood of a successful resolution.

  6. Interacting with Regulatory Agencies: Legal guidance is essential for effective complaint filing and navigating administrative processes in cases involving bodies like the EEOC.

  7. Negotiating Settlements: Legal experts excel in negotiating fair settlements aligned with client’s needs, offering an alternative to prolonged court battles.

  8. Court Representation: Should legal action be necessary, lawyers provide vital support during court proceedings, ensuring a robust defense of clients’ rights.

  9. Protecting Against Retaliation: Legal guidance helps individuals safeguard against retaliation, offering strategic advice to protect their rights after reporting harassment.

  10. Emotional Support: Beyond legal roles, lawyers offer compassionate emotional support, recognizing the human impact of sexual harassment cases.

owner of company sexually harassed me

Get Help From an Employment Rights Attorney at BLG

Facing sexual harassment by the owner of a company is a daunting experience, but you don’t have to face it alone. By understanding your rights, documenting incidents, and seeking legal guidance, you can take control of your future and hold those responsible accountable. Remember, you have the right to a workplace free from harassment, and the legal system is here to support you in seeking justice. If you find yourself in such a situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to experienced sexual harassment lawyers who can guide you through the process and help you protect your rights.

For a free consultation with our expert sexual harassment lawyers at BLG. We are here to support you in your pursuit of justice and ensure that the owner of the company is held accountable for their actions.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

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